The Corpus Callosum

read this (Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson) when I was in fifth or sixth grade.  It was a little
paperback book on my Dad’s bookshelf.  So it was quite a shock
to see it included as an “honorable mention” on the list of the “Most
Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries

did not make the top ten.  The top book, The
Communist Manifesto
, earned 74 points from the panel of
judges.  Number 10, General Theory of Employment,
Interest and Money
, earned 23 points.   garnered only 9 points.  Still, it
tied with Introduction to Psychoanalysis, which I
read somewhat later.  

I won’t belabor the point; Mark
, James
, Benjamin
, and Tim
have already expounded at length.  The
occasion: today would have been Rachel
‘s 100th birthday.  

Today, it is hard to understand how anyone could possibly think of
Silent Spring as harmful, much less put it on a list of “most harmful


  1. #1 Gerard Harbison
    May 28, 2007

    I see ‘The Descent of Man’ also got an honorable mention. At least she’s in good company.

    What for me, as a conservative, is significant, is that a leading conservative periodical put together a jury of 15 scholars (more accurately, 14 scholars and Phyllis Schlafly), and not one of them was a scientist or technologist. In fact, no one in that group, as far as I can tell, has the remotest connection with science or technology, beyond a presumed ability to use email. There were certainly problems with Silent Spring, but not one person on that jury is in any way competent to discuss them.

    The conservative movement has truly turned its back on science.

  2. #2 Thomas
    May 28, 2007

    Even “On Liberty” by John Stuart Mill gets a honorable mention! The only ones who should feel insulted are the ones whose books are approved by such a bunch of troglodytes.

  3. #3 Jim
    May 28, 2007

    What a helpful list. I’m downloading all of them, to make them freely available on p2p networks, so these troglodytes can’t burn them.

  4. #4 Don Smith, FCD
    May 28, 2007

    I think you have to ask, “Most dangerous to what?” The most prevalent theme I see is “Most dangerous to Religion”.

  5. #5 Mark Baker
    May 28, 2007

    That whole list is just plain childish.

    It’s especially sad that Alfred Kinsey’s work landed just slightly below that of Mao, considering the conservative love of the Red Menace.

    Or look at how Keynes is blamed for the wasteful spending of the Federal government. The ballooning of the deficit under Reagan and Bush II certainly didn’t follow the policies of John Maynard Keynes.

    I wonder how many of them have even read the books on that list. I’d hope most of them could at least make it through the Communist Manifesto.

  6. #6 Shelley
    June 1, 2007

    I wanna thank them for giving me my summer reading list.

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